San Francisco – the America everyone can love

Just stepped in the door ending a 3 week monster road trip which included plenty of politics, work and hanging with friends. Deeper thoughts from the trip’s conversations will hopefully go up tomorrow but in the meantime, two funny anecdotes:

1. I love San Fran. I love that the SF airport (Terminal One) has a Free Speech Zone. This long counter is a place where any individual can perch themselves and do or say pretty much whatever they want – usually soliciting your time or money for a charitable cause. Sometimes people say SF is flaky left, but at least they are serious about protecting core rights – something that remains important even, sadly, in this day and age.

2. Was having such a good time hanging out with Jonathan Greenberg at Stanford today I was late leaving for the airport to catch my flight. Jonathan called a cab but thought it would take too long to arrive. Fortunately, every Friday renowned French philosopher Rene Girard holds court at the Gould Center for Conflict Resolution Programs and, by chance, the meeting was breaking up. Jonathan leapt in and asked if any of the attendees were going to San Fran and could give me a lift to SFO. Two elderly gentlemen – who happened to be fellows at the Hoover Institute – agreed to do so. Before I knew it I was in the back of a beat up Volvo cruising south on 280.
I have to say, Stanford is a great. Moreover, you can really see how the hippy culture has been imbued into the place. Can you name a renown university where a professor can ask a room of strangers if anyone can “give his buddy a lift” and will not only be taken seriously but can get an affirmative reaction?

What is there not to like about San Fran? A place so friendly that even the Neo-Cons pick up hitch hikers.

Oh, and yeah, I made my flight.

3 thoughts on “San Francisco – the America everyone can love

  1. Susanna Haas Lyons

    I saw one of those free speech zones in the Houston airport last weekend and was also dang impressed. until I realised it was empty. and they would probobly hog tie you if you tried to really excercize that right in Texas…. so I stopped staring at the desk and lined up to rent a Hummer. :)

    Reply
  2. Susanna Haas Lyons

    I saw one of those free speech zones in the Houston airport last weekend and was also dang impressed. until I realised it was empty. and they would probobly hog tie you if you tried to really excercize that right in Texas…. so I stopped staring at the desk and lined up to rent a Hummer. :)

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    I”m glad you had positive experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sadly, the authorities are not necessarily so great about protecting rights here either though. A few years ago they were arresting people for feeding the homeless in front of City Hall without health permits, and I assume they would do the same thing today.

    The idea that a tiny “free speech zone” should be set aside for protesting at a huge public facility like SFO is an affront to the Constitution — never mind if it’s true that you can’t even use the area without a *permit*. And I don’t think the area is clearly labeled either — I’ve been at the airport plenty of times and don’t recall ever noticing it. They probably stuck it in some out-of-the-way location that totally defeats the purpose.

    Reply

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